There looks set to be two newly crowned champions at the 470 Worlds, after another shake up at the top on the penultimate day in Melbourne.
Three-time men's 470 World Champions Nathan WILMOT
and Malcolm PAGE
(AUS), today announced they have just one more race left in Australia before retiring.
The affable pair will line up in the double points Medal Race at their final World Championship campaign being sailed out of Mordialloc Sailing Club. Sadly they are too far from the top of the leaderboard to win a record fourth World crown but admit they are going to enjoy medal day on the water regardless of the outcome.
It won't be the world #1 ranked pair's final ever race, they are headed to Beijing to finish their outstanding careers with the one event which has so far eluded them - an Olympic gold medal.
WILMOT and PAGE completed races 11 and 12 in 15th and second place respectively to scrape into the top ten positions who will go forward to tomorrow's Medal Race.
"I think the best we can do is fifth now … it's the last race we'll ever do in Australia so we just want to go out there and have fun,"
WILMOT said onshore.
"It was good to come alright in the end and we are looking forward to getting fat and retiring and not sailing 470s anymore - no its [the World Championships] is just fun - we can't medal so we may as well go out and do the best we can,"
The same can't be said for regatta leaders Alvaro MARINHO
and Miguel NUNES
of Portugal. The pair has been sailing together for the past 11 years but hasn't quite managed a podium finish as yet at a World Championship. Their best finishes to date have been a pair of fourth place finishes in 2007 and 2003, however that could all be about to change tomorrow.
With a slender three point lead heading into tomorrow's double-points top-ten Medal Race, the Portuguese "definitely want to win this one"
according to MARINHO.
Fate may well have intervened when Sail Melbourne organizers handed them the 001 bow number at the start of the regatta, which MARINHO added they were keen to hold on to.
"It was the best sailing out there today we've had all week,"
"And it's all too close to worry about other boats, I think we just have to go out there and try to win,"
MARINHO said with regard to tomorrow's Medal Race.
World #3 ranked Gideon KLIGER
and Udi GAL
(ISR) had another great day on the water, pegging back one point from the Portuguese, finishing sixth and fourth for an overall total of 54 points.
A further six points behind is Nicolas CHARBONNIER
and Olivier BAUSSET
(FRA), who have joined the top three following a 3 and 12 finish today for a total of 60 points.
Early regatta leaders and 2003 World Champs Gabrio ZANDONA
and Andrea TRANI
(ITA) sailed themselves back into contention with a second in race 11 and a win in race 12 for an overall total of 74 points and outright fourth position.
Disappointed world #4 ranked Aussie pair Mat BELCHER
and Nick BEHRENS
managed to resurrect some pride today, finishing eighth in the first race of day six action, backing it up with line honours.
BEHRENS said it was great to sail well and finish at the right end of the fleet.
BELCHER and BEHRENS have endured a horror week on the water which included a mid-race collision and an OCS to leave them in 20th position overall and out of tomorrow's Medal Race.
It's an all too familiar sight going into tomorrow's Medal Race in the women's 470 World Championship with Erin MAXWELL
and Isabelle KINSOLVING
(USA) maintaining first place comfortably, just as they did at the Asia Pacific Regatta earlier this month.
On the final day of racing at the Asia Pacific Regatta, the Americans matched raced Ai KONDO
and Naoko KAMATA
(JPN) off the course to secure their win for that series.
Tomorrow however, the American's focus will be on Giulia CONTI
and Giovanna MICOL
(ITA) who finished today in second place, with 62 points, 16 points behind first.
Despite a disappointing day with an OSC and a ninth place, Marcelien DE KONING
and Lobke BERKHOUT
(NED), the defending World Champions, are still in third place overall on 69 points.
"Maybe we'll still be able to get into the top three,"
DE KONING said. "But the points difference with the first boat is too big to make up.
"It's disappointing because we were in a good position at the start of today and we spoilt too many points today."
and Tessa PARKINSON
(AUS) are a close fourth overall, despite also having a tough day with a fifth and 25th.
"We had a good solid first race then got really unlucky in the second."
"There was a sixty degree shift to the left and we were on the right."
Despite the Olympic Games being only six months away, the Australians are doing their best to not get ahead of themselves.
"Our focus is just on this regatta at the moment no too much about the games."
PARKINSON said. "But we've been really happy about our performance in light winds."
and Saskia CLARK
(GBR) relished today's condition and the 12-15 knot winds to salute the judges in both race 11 and 12, elevating themselves from 16th position and into the double points medal race tomorrow.
Tomorrow the women's Medal Race is scheduled to start at 14:00, followed by the men at 15:00.
Results - click here
470 World Championships - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/470worldchampionships2008